Monday, March 22, 2010

April 29th BACK TO BASICS for tough times

Association of Fundraising Professionals
Genesee Valley Chapter

For immediate release Contact:
March 19, 2010 Deborah Zeger, Conference Chair 585-329-8032 or

BACK TO BASICS for tough times

The troubled economy is challenging many non-profit organizations to tighten their financial belts and shore up their funding bases. That’s the genesis behind BACK TO BASICS, a regional conference to help volunteers and professionals hone their fundraising skills and connect with others in the field.

On April 29th, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Genesee Valley Chapter will host its annual Great Lakes Regional Conference at Temple B’rith Kodesh in Rochester. The event is one of the premier fundraising conferences in the Northeast and is expected to attract some 200 attendees from Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and the Finger Lakes.

“The conference offers a range of practical workshops that provide relevant and usable information to help non-profits navigate these changing times,” explains Deborah Zeger, the conference chair.

BACK TO BASICS will feature Roberta (Robbe) A. Healey, Chair of the Board of Directors of AFP International, who has more than thirty years experience in non-profit organization management and development. Healey, who has lived and worked in Western New York, will share her unique perspective about how to “Crisis Proof Your Fundraising Program.”

Other headline speakers include Frank Interlichia, Associate Vice President for University Advancement and Martha Krohn, Executive Director of Annual Giving Programs. Both speakers are with the University of Rochester and will give a joint talk about the University’s success in growing its Annual Fund despite the recession.

The AFP Genesee Valley Chapter offers several financial incentives to make it easier for volunteers and professionals to attend the conference. Those incentives include Meyers Scholarships for members and non-members, a discount for early registration (by March 26th), half-day or lunch only participation, a new member discount and multiple-attendee discount. For more information, visit and look for information about the conference and Meyers Scholarships.

Conference sponsors include the University of Rochester, Temple B’rith Kodesh, Advanced Marketing Direct, Oser Press and Parachute Graphic Design and Writing.
* * * * *

Who: AFP Genesee Valley Chapter is a volunteer-based organization representing more that 250 fundraising professionals in the Greater Rochester area. As part of an international organization of fundraising professionals, our mission is to advocate for philanthropy and promote ethical and successful non-profit development by addressing the needs of diverse professionals in our region. Our members represent colleges, universities and secondary schools, hospitals and health care facilities, social service and cultural agencies, and local charities.

What: Great Lakes Regional Conference, BACK TO BASICS, featuring Roberta (Robbe) A. Healey, Chair, AFP International. The event is open to the public.

When: Thursday, April 29, 2010 from 8:00 am to 4:15 pm.

Where: Temple B’rith Kodesh, 2131 Elmwood Avenue, Rochester.

How: Visit and register on-line.

Leadership Seminars for Not for Profit Organizations

The LeMoyne College Business Division
in partnership with
The Corporate Volunteer Council and the
Human Services Leadership Council of Central New York
present a distinctive professional development opportunity

Leadership Seminars for Not for Profit Organizations
Integrity – Mutuality - Sustainability
Funded by a grant from the E.M. Kaufmann Foundation

LeMoyne College is pleased to offer a unique opportunity to our not for profit colleagues in Central New York. Each month, a faculty member will present a morning program to enhance the skills, knowledge and network base of the leadership in your organization. From strategy and change to exploring your leadership presence, the sessions will inspire and inform, and invite you to heighten your own capacities, and those of your organization.

The Program
Each session in the leadership series is designed to offer a fresh look at important topics in the not for profit leadership arena.

~ Vision, Strategy and Innovation Orne
Metaphorically, it has been astutely noted that “a good deal of strategic planning is like a ritual rain dance . . . it has more do with the dancers feeling in control than actually changing the weather.” While this seminar will discuss some of the conventional processes (dance steps) in strategic and innovation management, the primary focus is on techniques for effective strategic stewardship by linking thought, action and organizational learning.
April 30, 8:30 – 12:00

~ Leadership Presence McCallum
To be a leader is more than working out of a formally authorized role. Sometimes the most transformative acts of leadership flow from individuals exercising the authority that comes from within. This session will explore the theory and practices that deepen our capacity to lead, regardless of our role.
May 21, 8:30 – 12:00

~ Leading Your Teams O’Connor – Downey
Great teams are core to all true organizational successes. This will be a highly interactive session designed to construct a robust view of the team leadership challenges we face, as well as build some of the skills needed to bring teams to high quality results.
June 11, 8:30 – 12:00

~ Talent Management Downey
The successful employer in the future will offer both emotional and functional supports, as employees will stay with those who are the best fit for their personal and professional needs. This session will take you from finding and hiring the right talent to a guidebook for retention
August 20, 8:30 – 12:00

~ Fund Raising in 2011 Panel
Join an interactive discussion on Fundraising and its offshoots with professionals who will address the current climate in these challenging areas. From donor fatigue to enabling board members as fundraisers, local professionals will share insights and tangible ideas.
September 17, 8:30 – 10:30

~ Leading Change O’Connor
“May You Live in Exciting Times.” Change is everywhere we look and increasing at an unprecedented pace. This session is designed to complement the earlier Leadership Presence offering by exploring two cutting edge change strategies (Appreciative Inquiry and Future Search) for involving others in positive sustainable change.
October 15, 8:30 – 12:00

~ Coffee with your Colleagues All Faculty
Participants of the leadership series are invited to a breakfast / networking event to discuss learnings and reaffirm connections made during the session.
November 12, 8:30 – 10:00

The Faculty
Fr. David McCallum, S.J., Ed.D is a Jesuit priest serving as assistant to the President of Le Moyne College. He is facilitating the OneLeMoyne strategic development process, serves as Chief Mission Officer of the college, and teaches leadership in the Management Division. Fr. McCallum has years of experience as a spiritual director, retreat leader, and educator.

Dr. Daniel Orne professional career spans four decades. During that time he has been a military officer, a consultant, an academic, and an industry practitioner. Currently, he is an Associate Professor at Le Moyne focused on leadership, ethics and strategic management. Over the decades, he has provided executive education and consulting for dozens of organizations (including The Peoples’ Republic of China) in strategic management and innovation management.

Dr. Renée Downey Hart is a well known researcher, consultant and trainer in Central New York who has enjoyed an ongoing relationship with many in the not-for-profit community. A former partner at Eagle Consultants and now a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Management Division at LeMoyne, she brings her energetic style and tangible focus to her interactive sessions.

Dr. Dennis O’Connor is a Professor and Program Director of Management and Leadership at Le Moyne College. He has been long involved in consulting, researching and writing on both team leadership and organizational change processes such as the Future Search and Appreciative Inquiry, which have deep roots in non profits, NGOs, and health care, as well as business.

The Participants
Participating organizations may send two members to every session, depending on topic and interest. Leadership and emergent leaders are invited to attend. If a participant is unable to attend a session, he or she may send someone else in their place. Participating organizations will be sent an email prior to each month’s sessions in order to register their participants for that month.

Organizational Attendance
An organization fee of $150 will cover all sessions and materials for two participants from your organization. You may choose to send different people to each event, or identify two individuals to complete the entire series.

Individual Attendance
Individuals may also attend seminars at a fee of $20 per participant.

Questions or for registration information?
Renée Downey Hart 315.445.4485,

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Syracuse Symphony Orchestra faces financial difficulties, to send fundraising letter

The Post-Standard reported that Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, like music organizations nationwide, has not escaped the economic downturn. And, there are no guarantees of government funding and corporate contributions for the orchestra, which will celebrate its 50th concert season in 2010-2011.

The times are challenging, is the refrain echoed by Edward Kochian, SSO’s interim director, and Rocco Mangano, board chairman. They have spoken with state legislators and Rep. Dan Maffei. But with state and federal governments wrestling with budget crises, no promises can be made.

Now the orchestra is returning to a reliable source from the past. A solicitation letter will be mailed Friday to current and former donors seeking $300,000 in contributions, to be matched by the symphony’s board. Read more here.

The question here is around sustainability. Arts organizations everywhere are taking the same approach and just trying to make ends meet. The real issue here is how much longer can an organization take this approach? The Symphony did an appeal for $250,000 (plus a match of $250,000) last year, and now is doing an appeal for $300,000 (plus a match of $300,000) this year. That is a decrease of $100,000. There is clearly a need for a new way of thinking and operating in the arts. Instead of running an article in the Post-Standard about how the Symphony is going to ask the community for more money, the organization should be explaining to the community why they are worth investing in and what their return on investment is. Quality of life and supporting the arts because you just should can't be the reasons to appeal to people to give money.

Have your own thoughts on this issue? Share them here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Excellus board voted itself a 37 percent pay raise

The Syracuse Post-Standard related that the directors of Excellus voted to raise their pay by 37 percent last year after a consultant hired by the insurer determined they were underpaid.

The raises for the 17 outside directors came at the same time the nonprofit insurer lost money on its operations and cut the pay of its top executives.

The same year, Excellus increased health insurance rates on average 8 percent. For 2010, the insurer raised its rates an average of 8.8 percent. Both years, some customers saw substantially higher rate increases.

The company paid the directors $1.08 million in 2009, up from $795,338 in 2008. Director pay averaged $64,040 last year. Pay varies depending on a director’s responsibilities. Read more here.

The article also points out that this is a nonprofit with a compensated (and highly) board, which is a rarity. With rising health insurance costs, this issue seems problematic and worthy of serious examination.

New Report Issued on Growing Nonprofit Concern about State Budget Challenges

New Report from NYCON's national partner, the National Council of Nonprofits
Washington, D.C. - How are states looking to close their budget deficits? One way is by taking money away from nonprofit organizations at a time when the need for food, shelter, health care, and other community services is rising - a serious threat explained in a new report issued today by the National Council of Nonprofits.

This special report, entitled "State Budget Crises: Ripping the Safety Net Held by Nonprofits," examines the alarming condition of state budget deficits and identifies three resulting trends putting nonprofits in jeopardy - state and local governments slashing funds for programs they expect nonprofits to administer, government agencies withholding contract payments for services nonprofits have already delivered, and governments taking operating money from nonprofits through new fees and taxes.

"When governments shortchange their nonprofit partners, people lose their jobs, the economy suffers, and vulnerable citizens go without the help they need," said Tim Delaney, President & CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits. "This report serves as a call to action for community leaders at nonprofits, foundations, and governments to come together and find ways to solve some of the daunting challenges our communities face because of the state budget crises."

State and local governments in recent decades have increasingly turned to nonprofits to administer essential services, forging a public-private partnership that has served the nation well. But now an increasing number of cash-starved governments are wondering how they can generate new revenue from nonprofit organizations. The special report details some of more worrisome stories emerging across the country, explains the importance of a strong nonprofit sector, and encourages nonprofit leaders to engage in the policy process as states grapple with how to close budget gaps this year and beyond.

Monday, March 8, 2010

NYS Budget Cuts Proposed for Welfare: Call for Advocacy

We also need to make calls to State legislative leaders: Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (518-455-3791), Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson (518 455-2788), and given the current upheavals, Lt. Governor Richard Ravitch (518 474-8390)

Message: Please raise the state welfare grant as promised and provided $100 Million for jobs for welfare participants and others, using the $638 million in extra federal welfare dollars we are receiving. To balance the budget, raise taxes on Wall St. and the rich."

Background. After 18 years of inaction, state lawmakers agreed to increase the basic welfare grant ($291 a month for a family of 3) by 10% a year for three years. Governor Paterson is proposing to cut this year's increase in half to only 5% ($15 a month).

The federal economic stimulus package gave NYS more than $1 billion over two years in extra funding to help welfare participants. The feds are providing a 4 to 1 match for any funds spent for jobs for welfare participants. Last year we got $70 million for jobs. Governor Paterson is proposing to cut it to $18 million this year, even though we are receiving the second payment of $638 million this year. The Governor instead wants to divert hundreds of millions of these dollars intended to help welfare participants into the general budget.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Human Services Leadership Council Meeting March 12th

The next meeting of the Human Services Leadership Council will be

Friday, March 12, 2010
8:00 – 9:30 AM
United Way Building
518 James Street

I have pasted below the agenda for the meeting. If any of you would be willing to volunteer to bring light refreshments to the meeting, please let me know. Thanks so much. I look forward to seeing you Friday!

Human Services Leadership Council
March 12, 2010
518 James Street; Rosamond Gifford Conference Room in basement (enter from rear of building)

8 – 9:30 a.m.

Upcoming 2010 meetings: May 14, September 10, November 12

Introductions (with announcements and program updates)
Chair’s report: Randi Bregman

Proposal for a program on new labor standards
CNYCF efforts to coordinate federal grant applications
New Gifford Calendar of Events
Website updates
Mayor Miner at next meeting

Treasurer’s report: Mason Kaufman

Committee announcements:
· Advocacy:
Liz Nolan
Mike Melara

· Community/ Business Communications:
Sara Wall-Bollinger
Michael Crinnin

· Internal Communications and Networking:
Aggie Glavin

· Program and Training:
Susan Horn
Marsha Weissman

Monday, March 1, 2010

United Way short $1 million, asks community for second round of donations to close the gap

The Syracuse Post-Standard reported that the United Way of Central New York is passing the hat again to offset a more than $1 million shortfall in its 2009 fundraising campaign that supports local food pantries, homeless shelters and other human service programs.

For the first time ever the non-profit will ask individuals and employers again during March to contribute to the campaign which began in the fall and closes April 15.

Many United Way agencies’ budgets are shrinking at the same they are seeing sharp increases in demand for services, according to Frank Lazarski, United Way president. The food pantry at Huntington Family Centers on Syracuse’s West Side, for example, has served as many people in six months as it expected to serve in a full year. Read more here.